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President's Message

may 2023

MACCS WIC Symposium, Bridging the Digital Divide Grant Report Out, State Advocacy Bills, CVTeam Educational Series, Nurses Appreciation Month

Dear Colleagues, 

I wanted to give you a quick update on a number of events by MD Chapter.  

MACCS WIC Symposium: The Mid-Atlantic Women In Cardiology Symposium at Heart House on April 28 brought together DCACC, DEACC, MDACC, PaACC, VCACC and WVACC WIC trainees and FACCs for a terrific program. There were great talks on leadership, advocacy, building clinical programs, education, financial investments, and other non-clinical competencies.The meeting was very well attended. The MDACC WIC Chair Dr. Carmel Bogle was the chair of the event and Dr. Tala Al-Talib and Dr. Vaani Garg answered several questions from trainees.

Mid-atlantic wic photo 1        mid atlantic wic photo 2

Bridging the Digital Divide: Congratulations to Dr. Francoise Marvel, Dr. Karan Desai, Dr. Nino Isakadze, Dr. Trent Johnson and Dr. Seth Martin and the Johns Hopkins Digital Laboratory for a successful completion of the grant on training Baltimore City Youth on Cardiovascular Health with the help of digital tools. This was a health equity grant from the ACC Board of Governors and the final report will be presented this summer. The team also presented their science at the ACC.23 Scientific Sessions and on CardioNerds working with ACC past-President Dr. Dipti Ichhaporia. Click here to listen to the CardioNerds Podcast.

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AED Bill Advocacy in Annapolis: Our Governor-Elect, Dr. Sammy Zakaria was front and center lobbying of the behalf of the Maryland Chapter to support the mandate of having AEDs in small restaurants. This billc SB0624/ HB1074 was signed into law on May 3. Our Chapter leadership and members mobilized to testify at state committee meetings in favor of this bill in the past years. This legislative year, our total efforts testifying for this bill, sending multiple letters to chairs of committees, gathering sponsors, and advocating for this in-person and online made a huge difference. On the last night of the legislative session, it overwhelmingly passed in a bipartisan manner (House 112-23, Senate 46-1 along with a related companion bill that offered a $500 tax credit to these small establishments).


MDACC CVTEAM Update and Success: I want to highlight the work of our CVTeam Representative John Lindsley, PharmD and our CVTeam Committee; they joined the MACCS coalition (DCACC, DEACC, MDACC, PaACC, and VCACC) to come together and produce a fantastic line up of education on April 15th. This was a great educational effort and leadership from the CVTeam. We had over 65 people register. Congratulations to the CVTeam for their efforts!  

Nurse Appreciation Month CVTeam Discount for ACC Membership: There is currently a promotion for the month of May - which happens to be Nurse Appreciation Month. Non-member nurses that join during the month of May will get a 40% discount on national dues and a waiver of the application fee with code Nurses2023. This is valid until May 31, 2023. Click here for additional information.

Have a lovely and safe Memorial Day!! 

I thank you for your commitment to the Chapter.

Garima Sharma, MD, FACC

ACC Governor for Maryland/MDACC Chapter President


Bills in both the Maryland House of Delegates and Senate have been introduced to reform prior authorization and step-therapy.  MDACC is supporting these reforms through letters, in-person testimony, and an email campaign to the membership.  See below for more details.

RE: SUPPORT FOR SB 308 Health Insurance – Utilization Review – Revisions and

SB 515 Health Insurance – Step Therapy or Fail First Protocol – Revisions

These bills target the unnecessary denial of health care services by health insurers. Commonly known as prior authorization or step therapy, these practices often delay or deny medications and services that have received clinical consensus through stringent vetting and are published and updated regularly in medical journals and literature.

Time is critical for cardiovascular patients. The sooner a cardiologist can treat and monitor a

patient, the more likely the patient is to recover and thrive. Unfortunately, insurer prior authorization program denials in Maryland are rising.

Increasingly, cardiovascular professionals use point of care tools (ACC Practice Tools) and other technological resources (NCDR National Cardiovascular Data Registry) to access information that provides update information that guides treatment decisions and helps them provide timely care.

  • In 2018, there were 78,314 denials based on medical necessity.
  • In 2021 that number increased to 81,143.
  • The Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) ruled that in over 70% of complaints they received from patients, the denial was invalid, and that the patient should have received the health care service.

In 2021, an American Medical Association (AMA) survey revealed the following about the impact of prior authorization on physicians and patients:

  • 93% of physicians reported delays in access to necessary care.
  • 82% of physicians reported that patients abandoned recommended treatments because of prior-authorization denials.
  • 73% of physicians reported that criteria used by carriers for determining medical necessity is questionable - 30% of physicians reported that it is rarely or never evidence-based and 43% only sometimes evidence-based.
  • 88% of physicians describe the burden of prior authorizations as high or very high with 40% of physicians reporting that they have staff dedicated exclusively to prior authorizations.

Not only are these policies hurting patients, but they are hurting physicians, too.

The process to secure prior authorization is labor intensive, costly, and stressful. Surveys consistently reveal that undue administrative burden is a leading cause of physician burnout and depression.

The Maryland Chapter ACC supports the American College of Cardiology’s statement of support for the Ukrainian people; see this link for the full statement.

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The Maryland Chapter was featured in the May 5th Board of Governors Update, a weekly newsletter to all Chapter Presidents.  Click here to read!

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Click here to listen to the recording.

Maryland Chapter, American College of Cardiology
1783 Forest Drive, Suite 238
Annapolis, MD 21401

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